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Mario Landi's giallo attempt Giallo a Venezia (Italy, 1979) is incredibly exploitive and hyper sleazy film that tries to be more (but turns out to be less) than any of the previous films of the yellow (=giallo) genre. It concentrates on sadism, gore and almost hardcore level scenes of sex and masturbation. We cannot talk about a noteworthy film for the fans of Italian genre cinema from the sixties to the eighties, but we can talk about one of the lowest exploitation films ever made!
Flavia (Leonora Fani) and Fabio (Gianni Dei) are lovers, or "lovers" more precisely as we learn very soon that thair relationship is a little twisted. Fabio likes to make love while somebody's watching them and when that is not anymore enough (which is very soon once the film has started), he starts to whip his girl and also force her to whore herself while he himself is watching from a safe distance. This continues in various places and I don't think the reason for Fabio's acts is never really explained which is not a surprise either. Due to the film's circle-like structure and some surprising plot turns at the beginning and the end, I can't tell more about what happens, but without spoiling anything: a double murder takes place, a policeman (Jeff Blynn) starts to investigate and soon more murders take place and they all are as gratuitously graphic and disturbingly sick as could expect. Imagine a hard core porn film where all the porn is gore and violence and you have an idea what kind of a film Giallo a Venezia will be.
Naturally the film is awful on every noteworthy level. The cinematography is nothing special albeit the setting is beautiful and elegant and can be seen also in a much better and real giallo film Nero Veneziano (1977) by Ugo Liberatore. The acting is not TOO bad which naturally makes it easier to sit through the 91 minutes of sleaze on display. The soundtrack is rather amusing as it could fit perfectly in your average 70's porn flick, too, and that makes my above statement even more valid I think! So all the things and elements that made the giallo classics of Argento (Profondo Rosso, Tenebrae), Bava (Blood and Black Lace), Dallammano (What Have They Done to Solange) and Fulci (Don't Torture a Duckling, Sette note in nero, which are both his masterpieces) among many others so great are totally lacking in Landi's film but what can be found in it is the thing that wasn't the most important in those mentioned films: gore and sex.
The murders are not after all so plentiful but they are so calculated and just plain sick that the film ranks easily among the most nastiest films ever made. The three scenes in the film stand out and include a burning death (a scene that is equally sick with the early 80's US serial killer romp Don't Go in the House by Douglas), a repellent genital mutilation (like in Fulci's NY Ripper but even more explicit but no less gratuitous) and a leg sawing that reminds me of the infamous Japanese Guinea Pig sickies, especially part 2 directed by famous manga artist Hideshi Hino. Still Giallo a Venezia is never as depressing, haunting and mentally disturbing than the strongest of the mentioned Japanese underground cinema genre like Guinea Pigs. The effects are pretty good as can be expected by Italian production like this and the camera captures every detail in close up that makes the film's exploitation status so obvious and its lack of real merits so easy to see. Naturally the gore is so strong that if you (understandably) felt bad while watching Fulci's New York Ripper or other films with such misogynistic elements, then don't even try to (first) track down and watch Giallo a Venezia.
The other reason this film was made is naturally the sex and sleaze which is also more graphic than in the other giallos. The film includes many scenes of sex, masturbation and female nudity and they all are as long and detailed as the gore scenes. This film is so filled and covered with blood, smut and degradation it could easily be a film by the late Joe D'Amato, too, as his 1979 film Beyond the Darkness, alongside Landi's film, stand out in the list of all time nasties. Giallo a Venezia is the kind of film that can give the whole genre a bad name in its lack of ambition and interest to deliver nothing else than gore and sex.
The structure of the film however could be an effective one in a thriller like this and that is perhaps the only positive thing I can find in this film. Otherwise this film has nothing to make it interesting or worthwhile on any other level than exploitation. The film is a very rare little sickie and available only in various illegal forms and as far as I know, there are no legal English versions available. The Brazilian VHS should be the longest version but alongside the Italian tape it is very rare and hard to find. But after all, depending on what you're waiting from your films and giallos, that is not necessarily so bad thing. Many thanks to my dear friend and IMDb supporter Bart for offering me a chance to see this!
or 10/10 (if I'd wear a raincoat, both literally and symbolically in my taste in movies.)
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